THE FOG (1980) Reviews and overview


‘Lock your doors. Bolt your windows. There’s something in…’

The Fog is a 1980 American supernatural horror feature film directed by John Carpenter (The Ward; Ghosts of Mars; The Thing; Halloween; et al), who also co-wrote the screenplay with Debra Hill and composed the music for the film. The movie stars Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins and Janet Leigh.


The Fog was Carpenter’s first film after the success of his 1978 horror Halloween, which also starred Jamie Lee Curtis. Though not as big a success as Halloween, the film received generally favourable reviews and was also a commercial success. A critically-panned remake of The Fog was made in 2005.



New York based Rialto Pictures released The Fog on October 26, 2018, in its first-ever major restoration.

The movie in a full 4K restoration from Studiocanal, opens for limited runs at the Metrograph, in New York, Landmark’s Nuart in Los Angeles, and The Music Box Theatre in Chicago. Additional screenings will occur during the week of Halloween throughout the Alamo Drafthouse circuit and other specialty theaters.

the fog 1980 hal holbrook

“Out of theatrical release for years due to faded, unplayable prints, The Fog can now be viewed again as it was intended, with the restoration of its breathtaking colour cinematography by Dean Cundey, who deftly captured both the daylight beauty of the Point Reyes shore and the ghostly goings-on in the dark, eerie night.”

The Fog has been our most requested title for as long as we have handled the Studiocanal library here,” according to Eric Di Bernardo, Rialto’s director of sales. “It is Carpenter’s most visually alluring film and we think it’s been worth the wait.”


A strange, glowing fog that sweeps in over a small coastal town in California, bringing with it the vengeful ghosts of mariners who were killed in a shipwreck there exactly 100 years earlier.

The fishing town of Antonio Bay in California is about to celebrate its centennial. With preparations for the celebration underway, the centennial is also marked by a series of ominous events; as the witching hour strikes and the date of the town’s centennial begins, various odd phenomena begin to happen all over the sleeping town – objects move by themselves, television sets turn themselves on, gas stations seemingly come to life, and all the public pay phones ring simultaneously.

That same night, Father Malone, the town’s alcoholic priest, is in his study in the church when a large piece of stone falls from the wall revealing a cavity. Inside is an old journal, his grandfather’s diary from a hundred years earlier.

Father Malone removes the book from the wall and begins to read. The diary reveals that in 1880, six of the founders of Antonio Bay (including Malone’s grandfather) deliberately sank and plundered a clipper ship named the Elizabeth Dane. The ship was owned by Blake, a wealthy man with leprosy who wanted to establish a colony near Antonio Bay.

During a foggy night, the six conspirators lit a fire on the beach near treacherous rocks, and the crew of the ship, deceived by the false beacon, crashed into them. Everyone aboard the ship perished. The six conspirators were motivated both by greed and disgust at the notion of having a leper colony nearby. Antonio Bay and its church were then founded with the gold plundered from the ship.

A supernaturally glowing fog appears, spreading over the sea and moving against the wind…


Reviews [click links to read more]:

The Fog is an incredibly atmospheric horror flick that takes the technical expertise of Halloween and adds more obvious supernatural elements. Carpenter pick and chooses what to show and what not to show opting that more is less. It is impressive the way they seem to have complete control over the actual fog giving it an other-worldy, sentient feel.” House of Geekery

“Carpenter’s use of 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen is beyond legendary and his compositions evoke a town that may as well be the last remaining one on the face of the earth. Adrienne Barbeau’s radio host makes for a fascinating heroine.” Slant magazine

“Superbly crafted by Carpenter, the movie succeeds in making the audience jump when they are meant to and the living dead, which appear to owe something to Amando de Ossorio’s ghostly Knights Templars, are genuinely horrifying.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook

Cast and characters:

  • Adrienne Barbeau as Stevie Wayne
  • Jamie Lee Curtis as Elizabeth Solley
  • Janet Leigh as Kathy Williams
  • John Houseman as Mr. Machen
  • Tom Atkins as Nick Castle
  • James Canning as Dick Baxter
  • Charles Cyphers as Dan O’Bannon
  • Nancy Loomis as Sandy Fadel
  • Ty Mitchell as Andy Wayne
  • Hal Holbrook as Father Malone
  • John F. Goff as Al Williams
  • George ‘Buck’ Flower as Tommy Wallace
  • Darwin Joston as Doctor Phibes
  • Rob Bottin as Blake
  • John Carpenter as Bennett [uncredited]